I'm firmly on the record - both in this space and on EBN's blog, Employee Benefit Views - as a big advocate of telework. I've long said it's my favorite benefit and believe the corporate world would be a better place if only more employees were able to telework.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. In recent months, I've read surveys of what employees would give up in order to work from home, and the results included daily showers, their favorite foods and even THEIR SPOUSE.

So, clearly a bunch of us love telework with a capital L.

I say this because although telework and I are benefits besties that go together like peanut butter and jelly, there is another benefit that is almost as dear to my heart: parental leave.

As the Mr. and I happily await the birth of our third baby this summer, I realize how blessed we are to both work for companies that offer parental leave benefits. Having that extra time to bond with and coo over our little ones was priceless the first two times, and I can't imagine the third will be any different. And with every extra game of peek-a-boo I get to play, and every extra beautiful minute I get to sleep because my husband can be up with the baby, I'll think, "I love my employer."

Katie Griffith, a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers who is taking advantage of the firm's parental leave and flexible work programs for the second time, feels similarly.

Planning to take off eight months following the birth of her second child, followed by a reduced office schedule and adapted evaluation program, Griffith tells Associate Editor Lisa Gillespie this month that the accommodations made her feel, "like they were committed to my long-term success, they really wanted me to stay and be a valued member of the practice."

I'm thinking maybe, just maybe - with employee loyalty still waning nationwide - that your company could use a little love like that.

So, just this once, I'll take a brief respite from tooting telework's horn and instead encourage you to embrace parental leave benefits if you haven't already. Now, to be clear, I'm talking about time off that's separate and apart from short-term disability and FMLA. Paid time - the kind that's already mandated by most of the industrialized world, with the glaring exception of the United States.

Putting aside the notion that paid parental leave is "good business," "just the right thing to do," or even so much as a "moral obligation," given our nation's commitment to family, I'd suggest just keeping in mind two words: talent war. As Peter Ronza, president at Pontifex Consulting Group, tells EBN, "You would think from a labor economics perspective that when the market tightens and talent becomes competitive, then you'd have to be in front of those benefits to be competitive."

Noodle that for a while and then send me your thoughts. I'd love to have your letters to read in between diaper changes and peek-a-boo while I'm on maternity leave.

Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kelley M. Butler at kelley.butler@sourcemedia.com.

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